A sudden loss disrupts Carol's (Blythe Danner) orderly life, propelling her into the dating world for the first time in 20 years. Finally living in the present tense, she finds herself swept up in not one but two unexpected relationships that challenge her assumptions about what it means to grow old.
It’s rare that a movie hits all the emotional notes in a genuine way, rather than hitting you over the head repeatedly, telling you how you should feel. Fortunately for us, the former is true with ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams‘, which is a small indie dramedy by director Brett Haley, which has iconic actress Blythe Danner play one of her best roles yet. Haley uses a soft touch throughout the film as we see new beginnings from people not to far from the end. There are a ton of funny moments with enough subtle drama that mixes into a perfect pie by the end of the film that leaves you wanting more.
Carol (Blythe Danner) has been widowed for more than two decades. She lives in a great home in Southern California where she plays cards with her friends (Rhea Perlman, Mary Kay Place, and June Squibb), who’ve all moved into the retirement resort down the street. Carol also plays golf and enjoys drinking wine by her pool daily, with her trusty old golden retriever by her side. An unfortunate event takes place that would seem to make Carol go into a deep depression, however it gives her a new lease on life to experience new things. First of which is meeting a young man named Lloyd (Martin Starr), who is her pool boy.
The two realize they have a connection (not necessarily romantic), but more of when two people really need and understand each other. We can see it on Lloyd’s face when he and Carol head to a bar for karaoke and he sees Carol sing an excellent rendition of ‘Cry Me A River‘. Sooner than later though, a new member of the retirement home moves in by the name of Bill (Sam Elliot with mustache and cigar), who takes a liking to Carol, thus giving Carol an opportunity she hasn’t had a in a long time to feel complete happiness.
These special moments, all of which we have gone through in our own lives are shown in such a simple and endearing way, that it’s difficult not to relate and enjoy this story. It’s not all sad moments either as we see Carol and her friends have a late night junk food session after they all decide to smoke marijuana or where Carol goes to a speed dating event at the retirement home where an older gentlemen lays all his cards out on the table, herpes and all.
Although there are a few predictable story elements, the emotion, drama, and comedy are all done so perfectly, that you can’t help but want to spend more time with each character. ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams‘ is a rare catch in this particular genre, one you shouldn’t miss.
'I'll See You In My Dreams' comes with an excellent 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This lovely film looks excellent from start to finish. The detail here is very sharp and vivid in both closeups and wide shots. Closeups reveal every wrinkle, age spot, makeup blemish, and individual hair very nicely. The costumes, especially the denim and flannel show the intimate stitching very well too. Wider shots never go soft, giving the image quite a bit of depth, whether the actors are outside on location or in an interior set.
It all looks simply gorgeous. Colors pop off screen as well from the bright blue pools to the green on the golf courses. The primary colors in the costume also pop off screen and are all perfectly balanced and saturated. Everything looks very realistic here. Black levels are always deep and inky and the skin tones are natural. There were no issues with banding, aliasing, video noise, or any other compression problem to speak of, leaving this video presentation from Universal with excellent marks.
This release comes with a very nice lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. There aren't any action sequences here, nor are there any explosions, gun blasts are even a scene where a car is barreling down the highway, so don't expect a ton of crazy sound effects. Instead this is a very serene and simple dialogue driven comedy-drama that hits all of the right notes. Whatever sound effects there are and all of the ambient noises of people chattering at the golf course or at a speed dating event, comes through the surround speakers nicely.
The sounds are full and natural and very well balanced with some good directionality. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow at all times. The score is always crisp as well and always adds to each tender moment. There were no instances of pops, cracks, hiss, or high shrills either. The bass won't really rattle any of the walls, but that's not the kind of movie we're dealing with here. That all being said, the LFE is excellent and the dynamic range is wide, leaving this audio presentation with great marks.
A Look Inside 'I'll See You In My Dreams' (HD 4 Mins.) - The only extra is a short promo reel extra with interviews with the cast and crew, discussing their characters and the film's central themes. I wish there was more to this, considering the amazing cast.
'I'll See You In My Dreams' is a very sweet and endearing film that pulls the heartstrings and delivers some good laughs. The characters are all amazing and it's so much fun to go on their journey with them, leaving you wanting to spend more time with each and every one of them. There are no action sequences here or big explosions, but this movie proves you don't need any of that to have an excellent film that is as simple as having a conversation with friends and the ones you love. The video and audio presentations are both top notch, however the one extra lacks substance. Still, this release comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!